SEC PLAY CONTINUES Arkansas returns to the gym this week as Southeastern Conference play continues around the league. The Razorbacks opened with a five-set win at Auburn and return to Barnhill Arena hosting No. 10 Florida Friday and soon-to-be ranked South Carolina Sunday. Both the Gators and Gamecocks are also coming off winning SEC weekends as they both defeated LSU and Georgia last weekend.
LAWRENCE PLAYS WELL IN SEC OPENER Senior Christina Lawrence paced Arkansas to its first SEC win of the 2008 season and the first under head coach Robert Pulliza. Lawrence tallied 16 kills, one shy of her career-best. Her 16 kills, .314 hitting percentage and 35 total attempts were all season highs.
LAWRENCE MOVES UP THE LIST Senior Christina Lawrence is on pace to become the 13th player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills. Lawrence moved up one spot this week to number 15 with 864 career kills and needs just 11 kills to move up into the 14th position. Here’s the top 16 list.
SIX IN A ROW Freshman Kelli Stipanovich made it six in a row this weekend with six consecutive matches with double-figure kills.
ARKANSAS IN THE SEC STATS Arkansas continues to improve it’s numbers as the season moves forward. After one week of SEC play, Arkansas ranks fourth in service aces-per-game and fifth in hitting percentage. Heather Royal and Christina Lawrence rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in kills-per-game while Caira Dortch ranks third in assists-per-game and service aces-per game. In all matches (conference and non-conference), senior Yun Tang remains in first for blocks-per-game. Pheobe Bautista is seventh in digs-per-game, Kelli Stipanovich is 10th in kills-per-game, and Dortch is fifth in assists-per-game and is 10th in service aces-per game.
ARKANSAS IN SEC OPENERS Arkansas is 8-7 all-time in the season-opening Southeastern Conference match. The Razorbacks are 5-3 in home SEC openers and 3-4 in road SEC openers. Arkansas has faced Kentucky, Alabama and LSU twice each in the season SEC opener.
ABOUT FLORIDA Senior Florida middle blocker Kelsey Bowers posted a season-high seven blocks to break into the school’s all-time top-10 career list for blocks, and junior libero Elyse Cusack had a season-high 21 digs as strong defense led the No. 11/11 Gators to a 3-1 (25-12, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19) win against LSU on Sunday. The Gators enter the weekend with a 8-1 overall record and are perfect in the SEC at 2-0 with wins over the Tigers and Georgia. Kristy Jaeckel has been the early-season leader for Florida. She leads the team with 111 kills, a 3.47 kpg average and a .300 hitting percent.
BY THE NUMBERS
ARKANSAS VERSUS FLORIDA Arkansas has just two wins over Florida in the 14-year history of the program. The series record favors the Gators, 24-2, with Arkansas’ wins coming first in 1997 and again in a five-game thriller in Barnhill Arena last year.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA Arkansas next faces what may well be the best South Carolina team the Razorbacks have ever seen. The Gamecocks are 10-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC with wins over LSU and Georgia last weekend. They have won 10 in a row. Ivana Kujundzic and Belita Salters have paced South Carolina. Kujundzic leads the team with 152 kills, 3.80 kpg and has a .317 hitting percentage. Salters checks in with 116 kills, 3.14 kpg and a team-best .420 hitting percentage.
BY THE NUMBERS
ARKANSAS VERSUS SOUTH CAROLINA Arkansas leads the series against South Carolina, 15-7 and has won the last five meetings. Arkansas is 7-3 in Barnhill, 4-3 in Columbia and 2-0 on neutral courts. SHORT AND SWEET Although Arkansas doesn’t like the taste. The Razorbacks have played 11 matches, eight of which have gone the minimum three sets. Arkansas is 3-5 in three set contests. Their wins have come against Georgia State, Lamar and Tennessee-Martin. HOW’S THE SEC? In a word – good. The SEC finished pre-conference play with a 64-40 record for a .165 winning percentage. The Eastern Division was 35-12 (.745) while the Western Division finished 29-28 (.501) in matches played before the start of SEC play. One SEC team, Florida, is in this week’s top 25 poll. The Gators moved up one spot to No. 10 this week. LSU, South Carolina and Kentucky all received votes in this week’s poll. WHERE’S SEATON? Great question. Junior Kristin Seaton has been moved between the middle blocker and outside hitter positions depending on Arkansas’ immediate needs against an opponent. Continue to look for her in either spot as the season continues. AS TIME GOES ON How are Arkansas’ opponents doing as the season progresses? Here’s a look at previous opponents and their current records: CSU (10-1/2-0 Mt. West); Georgia Tech (9-2/1-0 ACC); Michigan (12-0/0-0 Big 10); Denver (10-2/0-0 Sun Belt); Georgia State (0-9/0-0 Colonial Athletic Association); Virginia Tech (9-2), Tulsa (13-2, 1-0 Conference USA), Lamar (1-4, Hurricane Ike is messing with their schedule); Eastern Washington (4-7, 1-1 Big Sky). Three teams that Arkansas has played or will play (Florida, Colorado State and Michigan) are in this week’s top 25 with four others (LSU, South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Kentucky) all receiving votes. RAZORBACKS ON THE RADIO The Arkansas Razorback volleyball team returned to the KXUA airways this season for their single match at Auburn. The Razorbacks went live at 6 p.m. Central from Auburn, Ala. KXUA is 88.3 FM on the dial in Northwest Arkansas. The broadcast also aired live on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Jeri Thorpe provides the play-by-play along with Stephen McGown for your color analysis. Here is the complete KXUA broadcast schedule for 2008:
|Sept. 19||at Auburn||6 p.m.||W, 3-2|
|Oct. 10||Alabama||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 12||Mississippi State||1:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 17||at Kentucky||6 p.m.|
|Oct. 19||at Tennessee||12:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 7||Tennessee||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 9||Kentucky||1:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 14||at Mississippi State||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 21||LSU||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 23||Ole Miss||7 p.m.|
|All Postseason matches|
UP NEXT Arkansas hits the road for SEC action at Georgia Oct. 3 and at LSU Oct. 5. The Razorbacks are home against Alabama and Mississippi State, Oct. 10 and 12, respectively, followed by road matches at Kentucky and Tennessee and a mid-week road match at Ole Miss.